Meet the patients: Trevor Griggs and family

Patient Trevor GriggsThe following are excerpts from a letter written by intensive care patient Trevor Griggs and his son. 

Family perspective

"I have been asked to write a few words about our experience as a family when in the Autumn of 2010 our Dad was taken very seriously ill. I am writing this because Dad eventually stayed in hospital for eight weeks (six of them in intensive care). His illness was so serious he does not have very much recollection of the events. However, we were at his bedside all day everyday and have so many memories and emotions about our time at Southampton General ICU for the weeks that Dad was in hospital it became our second home.

"Up until last September Dad has always been a strong, healthy man and never in need of a GP or a stay in hospital. To this day we do not have a confirmed label for Dad’s illness it is one of those mystery viruses that might never be answered. What we do know is that the ICU in Southampton General Hospital saved his life. For us as a family we have been given a chance to re-evaluate life, how precious it is and how incredibly lucky we are to still have Dad with us.

"From the time that Dad entered the ICU we had confidence in everyone. The support we had from the consultants, doctors, nurses and numerous support services was amazing. We were always kept up to date with his treatments, prognosis, blood test results, x-ray results. The one to one care he was given by his special care nurse night and day was amazing. In the time that Dad was in ICU we got to know the staff well. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them. They took care to make sure that he was always clean and shaved and that his treatments were carried out with the utmost dignity. They were happy to work continuously checking all the many monitors that Dad was attached to. They worked around us and would answer any of our many questions and find out the answers for us if they did not have them. Often checking that we were ok and telling us to rest, sleep or eat when they could see we were not coping well.

Trevor Griggs with ICU staff"Dad was 72 years old when he was admitted to hospital. I can honestly say that I believe that they took every possible test to try and find the reason why all his major organs were failing him. He was given many different antibiotics, x-rays of every part of his body and brain. A lumber puncture, numerous chest x-rays and dialysis for his failing liver. The consultants discussed and shared his treatment. Dermatologists checked his skin.

"His consultant, Dr Mary Rogerson treated his renal failure. Physiotherapists treated him daily to move fluid from his lungs and dieticians worked to try and get some form of nutrition into his weak body. Everything possible was tested and considered not just once but twice or more. Nothing was working and his body was still struggling. We had no diagnosis of any significant illness from all the numerous tests. We were told that the only option we had left was huge doses of steroids. This had some significant risk if Dad was fighting an undiagnosed infection but we had no choice. By this stage we had full trust in the ICU and the ability of everyone connected to it. My brother likened it to flying and as far as we were concerned in ICU Dad was in the first class section.

"Dad has made an amazing recovery. The steroids did an amazing job. His lungs drained of fluid. His kidneys and liver recovered and the fluid that collected around his heart cleared. He is back playing golf twice a week (although he complains that his game is not as good as it was…!!!)

"Our experience of ICU has been incredible. Everyone connected to it works as an amazing team who all pull together. They support and care for the patient and they recognise the worry and anguish of the relatives of the patient and really support them too. The Griggs family cannot thank everyone enough. You are all wonderful dedicated caring people."

Trevor's recollections when out on Ward D and consequent release

Trevor Griggs with staff

"In conclusion I would myself like to say how much I owe to the staff in ICU, it seems from what Brenda my wife and family tell me it was better for me to not know a lot of what was happening to me whilst I was being treated and cared for.

"Now hopefully I am on the mend, although still under the care of Dr Mary Rogerson, a lady who I respect very much for the way she explains things, very patient and dedicated in her job, she has a wonderful manner with her.

"Finally, the day Dr Rogerson said I could go home, I think she knew I would be well cared for at home by my lovely wife Brenda and daughter and son. I got dressed, I was determined to go out in a suit with shirt and tie albeit in a wheelchair. WHAT A MOMENT!! I was taken to ICU to meet doctors and nurses who have taken care of me, I was treated like a king, lots of hugs and kisses. They all knew me, unfortunately I couldn’t say the same. They showed me my room where I stayed although I could not remember anything about it.

"The day I came home was bonfire night November 5th a day I will never forget easily.